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Xinhua, May 15, 2011

Afghan children look after family

Likewise Shah Jan, many children are seen in Afghan streets, bazaars and brick kilns working from dawn to dusk to earn meager income to support their families

By Abdul Haleem, Zhang Jianhua

"I have no choice but to sell shopping bags to support our family. My elder brother also works on street because our father is disabled," an Afghan child who introduced himself as Shah Jan told Xinhua on Sunday.

Dressed in grubby clothes and shouting up "shopping bags, shopping bags" in a crowded downtown bazaar in the Afghan capital Kabul to attract buyers, the poor Shah Jan, 7, whispered that he could earn 50 to 80 Afghanis (1 U.S. dollars up to 1.80 U.S. dollars) a day.

Afghan children sorts bricks at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where they work from 8am to 5 pm daily, on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labour is common at the brick factories where the parents work as labourers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs.
Afghan children sorts bricks at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where they work from 8am to 5 pm daily, on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labour is common at the brick factories where the parents work as labourers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs. (May 13, 2010 - Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images Europe)

When asked whether his father sends him to work, Jan shrugged and murmured, "Bomb blast handicapped him two years ago and since then the responsibility of the family had rested on me and my brother."

Jan's brother Khan Agha, 9, has also been shouldering the responsibility to support the seven-member family.

"Khan Agha often works as car washer alongside a stream in Kabul," Jan murmured, adding he (Khan Agha) earns up to 150 Afghanis (3 U.S. dollars) a day.

Jan and his brother Khan Agha are not alone in the war-ravaged Afghanistan bearing the brunt of endemic conflicts.

Killing, destruction, orphans and disabled people are the legacy of over three decades of war in Afghanistan.

There is no exact figure on how many people had lost their precious lives in Afghan violent incidents in 2010. According to UN report, 2,777 civilians had been killed in the militancy-ridden country last year.

Majority of the war victims in Afghanistan are the bread earners of their families.

Likewise Shah Jan, many children are seen in Afghan streets, bazaars and brick kilns working from dawn to dusk to earn meager income to support their families.

Nevertheless, Jan is among the luckiest ones, living in the capital city Kabul and attending school in the morning shift to build his future and working in the afternoon to support his war- shuttered family.

The number of Afghan innocent children that the war has forced them to give up childish sweet era and shoulder family responsibility is quite high.

Even though there is no official statistic about the number of street children in the war-torn Afghanistan, numerous of juveniles involved in child labor is seen in city streets elsewhere in the country.

"By polishing shoes I support my six-member family," said Zaman, 12, wandering on a street in Kabul.

Category: Children, Poverty - Views: 7667


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